Cornwall

This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.

I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.

Spread across two floors in the centre of St Ives is the New Craftsman Gallery which is currently hosting work by, among others, Neil Davis and Cornelius Jakob Van Dop.

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.

Standing on the shore, staring at the sea …

During the summer Angela Learoyd will be hosting a show in her beautiful Scottish gallery, filled with work that evokes the coast.

I was really excited to be asked to get involved – as the theme of the show matches the spirit of my work perfectly. There’s a wonderful selection of makers involved too:

Kathryn Williamson

Lindsay Kirkpatrick

Angela O’Keefe

The show runs from the 6th of July to the 1st of September in Angela’s Gallery in Doune, Scotland.

Making Spoons …

I’m developing something of a spoon addiction, at the moment it’s manifesting itself in a new set of spoons in the style of my current ‘Flotsam’ collection. It’s quite satisfying to go back to basics with my silversmithing and hand raise the bowls of the spoons, hammer texture into the handles. Of course, it’s a noisy job and I’ve rattled more than a few things off the shelves in the studio doing it! But them I think that the results were worth it.

I chose to add pearls to this pair of spoons just to put a little more ‘preciousness’ into them. As working pieces it makes them a little less practical but I think it gives them a nice extra touch as a gift.  The bowls are based on the shapes of pebbles, worn down by the sea – most of my inspiration comes from the landscape of the beach and when I’m not using actual found objects from the shore it’s great to work those natural, unsymmetrical shapes into a piece.

Anyway, they’re out of my hands already and down in Suffolk with Sea Pictures Gallery  who’re hosting my new Flotsam range and stocking my little Tenby Street beach houses. It’ll be very exciting to see how the work is recieved in a gallery that’s devoted to the sea.

 

Flotsam Spoons, packing, and the paperwork that entailed.

Flotsam Spoon Pair 2009

Flotsam Spoon Pair 2009 - Silver and drift wood with etched detail

Pft, I always forget how much paperwork is involved in packing, cataloguing and organising things. I’ve just delivered work for an exhibition (details of which are here.) The task seemed simple: put 20 pieces of jewellery and a few bits of silverware  in a box and walk it around the corner to the gallery.

Ha, as if I would allow  myself to make my life that easy. I had to make lists of things, fill in gallery forms, clean my silver, wrap, then spy imaginary finger prints on my pieces, un-wrap everything, re-clean it, re-wrap it (yes, I may be my own perfectionist curse) and finally, having got it all together I put in a set of gloves (in the forlorn hope that who ever unpacks it will not get fingerprints on it) and made myself deliver it.

After all the effort I was rather ticked when the woman at the Gallery just snagged the box out of my hand, said thanks and slid it behind the counter. She didn’t stop to appreciate the hours that went into the effective use of space inside the box, or the neat scotch-taping of the bubble wrap. Still, at least it’s gone. Re-packing a third time would have been excessive.